From the Philippines to Squamish and back | Squamish Chief

From the Philippines to Squamish and back

Singer-songwriter, and former Howe Sound Secondary grad, wins big on the Filipino stage, but a piece of her heart will always be in the Sea to Sky

When former Squamish resident Audrey Rose Arellano picks up the phone, she is just taking something she’s baking out of the oven in her Vancouver home.

Like most these days, the musician is at home, waiting out the pandemic.

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Arellano, 26, whose stage name is Dey Rose, is a professional singer-songwriter as well as a sound tech for other musicians. 

She has had a whirlwind 18 months or so and just finished recording six songs for her debut album, Panting Heart.

She recently released a single from the album called Puzzle Piece that she recorded in Squamish.

Her second single When I'm With You is set to come out in April.

The Chief caught up with the Howe Sound Secondary grad for a chat about where she's at, where she's been and how the pandemic hits close to home.

What follows is an edited version of that conversation.

Q: Squamish was home for you for a long time, what is your history here?

A: I was born in the Philippines, but my mom is a nurse who came to work in Squamish and sent over for my brother, me and my dad when I was in Grade 8.

I went to high school in Squamish and stayed until I went to college.

Q: How was it going to high school here?

A: At first, it was difficult, because I needed to adjust to everything — a completely new life. It took about a year to adjust. It was very different here compared to the Philippines. It took me a while to find some friends. Playing music is something that helped me gain friends and be more comfortable talking with others. I loved Howe Sound, in the end. All my friends are in Squamish.

Q: Tell me about your background in music. What did you first pick up, and when?

A: I first picked up the piano when I was very young. My dad's side of the family is very musical and I grew up going to church. My uncle taught me the piano and how to sing. Around Grade 3 my dad started teaching me the guitar.

Then I started writing my own songs. I did some shows at Howe Sound Brewing and other little shows around Squamish.

Then I performed in and won the Squamish Star Search in 2011.

I hadn't had a gig in Squamish since then until just a few weeks ago on March 6 at Squamish United Church.

It was awesome.

And shortly after, I went into the studio to record my EP and then everything shut down, of course.

Q: How do you describe your music?

A: I get that question a lot and it took me a while to define what I play. I think most people call it indie-fusion. It is kind of a fusion of 90s rock ballads and mixed with jazz and soul and blues — you can hear all those influences in my music.

Q: You had quite the year in 2019. You were featured on Wishcovery, the online competition by Wish 107.5 FM, based in Quezon City, Philippines, and you did very well. Can you tell us about that?

A: That whole year, 2019, was insane. It was a whole roller coaster experience. I ended up flying to LA and doing the different rounds of that competition and ended up winning to represent North America. Then I went to the Philippines to prepare for the Grand Finals for 10 days. That was just insane. I had no time to process it. I got to perform at the biggest stadium in Manila, to an audience of 16,000 people.

I didn't place in the finals, but just being part of that changed my life — it changed everything. I will never forget that moment of being on stage and not really seeing the crowd but hearing them. That was the moment it hit me that music is the thing for me. I don't want to do anything else.

Then we made a commemorative album and had a concert with all of the finalists singing the songs we collectively did throughout the competition.

Things have been rolling since then. I got signed to a label that is based in Manila and they have been helping me release my songs.

Q: Tell me about your album?

A: For Panting Heart, I wanted to recognize my Filipino roots so I am including two Tagalog songs and four English songs. I had just started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for my album and then COVID-19 hit and people were out of work and so I haven't promoted it as much as I would like to have. But I am just going to keep putting music out there. Everyone needs music now more than ever.

Q: You are a sound tech for other artists too, how is that compared to being the artist on the stage?

A: I love being able to be on the sidelines and seeing how everything is built for the artists and musicians. It is just great. Every time I go to work I meet musicians and make connections. With the pandemic, I haven't been working though, of course.

Q: Your mom is a nurse in Richmond, so how is it for you and her now, during this pandemic?

A: During this time, it is quite hard for everybody. I think more than anything, I feel grateful for the frontline workers continuing to work.

It is worrisome, worrying if they are going to get it or not.

Mom said it is hard in the elder people's department, where she works, because the families can't visit, but they stay outside the windows looking in.

My mom sees that every day.

The biggest thing I would hope is that the whole world starts to see that we need each other and we need to come together to get through this.

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